“17 When Pharaoh released the people, God did not lead them by the way to the land of the Philistines, although that was nearby, for God said, “Lest the people change their minds and return to Egypt when they experience war.” 18 So God brought the people around by the way of the desert to the Red Sea, and the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt prepared for battle.” Exodus 13:17-18
Often in this life, and maybe often isn’t the reality but always, we get frustrated by the way…by the journey we are on in this life. God has called us to something great and we know that it is true, but the realization of the promise of God may take a lifetime. Like Simeon and Anna the day Jesus was presented in the Temple as a babe they had waited a lifetime to see the promised Messiah, and so we too must be reminded that God’s ways and God’s days are not like ours.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So, while it may have been more efficient to go to the Promised Land by heading due East it was not the best route to take. God knew that this fledgling nation needed to gain some confidence in God and their leadership before going into battle, and so they took a longer and more physically and emotionally demanding route. In the end we get the story of the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh once and for all because of this detour. With this in perspective you can imagine why the Israelites were frustrated with the fact that God was leading them to certain death. Here they were pinned against the Red Sea by the Egyptian army when they could have taken the shorter route through the land of the Philistines and been almost home by now. But God’s ways and God’s days are not like ours and in the end from our perspective we see what God saw.
Now if we can just take time to remind ourselves of this truth when we are in the midst of our frustrating journey to our Promised Lands. God fulfills His promises at the right time and in the right way. So, our prayers might need to be more “God prepare me for the journey, ” instead of “God, can you hurry this up?”